A Hybrid Smoke Element
More efficient and uses less power.

I have often thought that the smoke element design used in AC Gilbert's smoke units was an interesting design.

It proved to be a durable long lasting way to make smoke. The smoke fluid is wicked up into the nichrome wire which was in the air path of the chuff puffer.

However is was also fragile and not the easiest unit to service due to the nichrome leads.

I have tried to combine the good wicking and air path  properties of the AF design with today's simplicity and structural  integrity of using a simple nichrome smoke resistor.

I wanted to use this design in today's modern smoke units.

So I have created this hybrid design.

I used a Lionel 6008141055, 27 ohm smoke  element resistor as the core unwinding it's nichrome wire. Then added  fiberglass wicking and wound them together with a piece of 38 gauge nichrome wire, soldered on each end lead with "Stay Brite" solder

. You can use various gauges of nichrome wire to suit the needs of the smoke voltages used in the loco.

I wound the element for the Y3 so it was 17 ohms.  The original element was 16 ohm. This design allows you to use a higher resistance and therefore less power is consumed because it all goes to heat the smoke fluid and not the resistor core.

The one on the right has only one wick and I have found using two wicks that completely surrounds the core is a better design.  
This design may open up many possibilities using other ceramic high ohm resistors as the core to get a smaller physical size.

Here is one being installed in a AF Y3 It is having a test fit to be sure it has clearance for the air flow.  It has the double wick that completely surrounds the resistor core. The nichrome wire is not tightly wound on the wicking so there is sufficient capillary action for the smoke fluid.
The top of the smoke unit runs much cooler.

Here is the AF Y-3 with a new hybrid element. It's sitting here smoke level set at low and it is now a copious smoker.
Below is David Horn's video of a Y3 with the Hybrid Smoke unit mod he did.